Customer Reviews: The Outfit
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on October 28, 2015
This book tells a grand story of Organized Crime. Enjoyed the tales of the Outfit. Grew up in the seventies. Followed these people as they set themselves up in history. A lot of information to the about. Loved this book!!
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on December 22, 2011
There are pros and cons to this book. It kind of prints a glorified accounting of the Chicago mob. Focus is on the upper level mobsters rather than the shenanigans of the rank and file and the bad stuff that entails for their victims. Plus, a lot of the evidence and proof is anecdotal and wouldn't stand up in court, so to speak.

However, if you're like me, there are tons of books about the New York mafia and all the groups there and it gets pompous and boring. Lots written on Bonanno, Gambino, Genovese. This book puts Chicago front and center and chronicles it's history in the same way the New York mob is glorified. In that respect, this book is long overdue and puts the Chicago Outfit on the map and gives it it's due.

But to give this book perspective, while it's well written and well spun, I'd read this alongside Ovid Demaris' Captive City. You'll see the reach and ruthlessness of the Chicago syndicate and how it rivaled New York. Definitely recommend this book, but I do recommend the other one as well. Enjoy!
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on February 14, 2014
What in the world is this guy thinking? I can't even get past the prologue, He get's well known names in the Chicago underworld wrong. I mean you automatically lose me when you call Dean O'Banion Dion. But to make so many mistakes in the prologue I mean claiming Al Capone was Torrio's cousin? Saying the Southside O'Donells were all wiped out in Torrio's rise to power? Spike O'Donnell lived to be 71 years of age and died in 1962. Where do you get your facts? I threw the book away. If you're going to make that many mistakes just in the prologue, I am not wasting my time reading any further. I had such high hopes for this one too. This guy tells more false stories than a drunk in a bar trying to pick up girls.
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on December 2, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I maybe have read too many of these books, but it does not look like they have the right image for Tony Accardo on the cover. Just a minor point, but I have several books with his images as a young man and the image second from the left does not look like him. Minor point. The author is detailed in how the Outfit used any and all means to make money! Unions, musician, booze, betting, protection "tax", and influencing authorities (politicians, law enforcement, judges et al) to get what they wanted. Power and Influence! Great read and one you may go back to for reference.
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on March 24, 2013
I had the hard/paperback back in 2003 and loved how they pointed out the relationship between organized crime and films, music (top 10 created through juke boxes in dinners). And even the concept of money laundering (cleaners dealt with cash so the mob took them over in Chicago to "clean" the money).

And growing up in Chicago it is great to read about the neighborhoods i have lived in and drover through and the legendary stories.
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on December 7, 2012
I lived and worked in Chicago for 30 years and this book brought back a lot of memories; coverage of some of these colorful character were regularly discussed by the media and some I have never heard of. Fascinating coverage.
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on April 18, 2016
"A modest proposal: Both the press and the Justice Department should suspend their infatuation with gangsters and instead direct their resources toward the criminals who, in proportion, deserve the long overdue attention. There is little belief here that this will or can actually happen unless the citizenry demands it."
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on September 13, 2007
Today where we have legalized OFF-TRACK BETTING, CASINO GAMING, LOTTO, MUSIC TOP 40, INTEREST ONLY LOANS and dubious ELECTION RESULTS; we have to salute the pioneers that made it all possible -THE OUTFIT!

The "boys" from Chicago, the mob, the syndicate whatever name you like. Vice lords that ran yesterdays rackets that became todays visionary and highly profitable "legit" business enterprises. Untold revenue for city, state and federal government and they didn't have to use any force to get it. Author Gus Russo has created the definitive word on the subject of THE OUTFIT and organized crime after Al Capone. His epic research and source of interviews, brings all the loose ends together. The cast of characters has always been well known, but now their role is defined in American criminal, social and economic history. Russo explains how these "underworld" guys could operate and become so powerful for so long, due to the full collusion of the so-called "legit upperworld" and all those ever so-righteous politicians.

You could say it was none other than the US Government itself, that started the ball rolling with its insane idea of prohibition. From there on, the drinkers, gamblers, drug abusers and other sinners amongst us, allowed THE OUTFIT and New York's COMMISSION and other major crime families, to become our exclusive source of supply. And if someone got out of line, got a bit greedy, they got took care of. For over sixty years there was an order to the organized criminality and there were rules and rituals. The book details THE OUTFIT's role in getting FDR, Hary Truman and JFK into the White House. The creation of mega gambling in Cuba and Las Vegas. Other rackets like the "wire service", the "numbers" and loan sharking. But most of all it's about the political
corruption that has become an even more accepted practice in America today. An ideal companion to this is Gus Russo's SUPERMOB -The Sidney Korshak story, also available on Amazon.
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on December 20, 2015
Really a bland rehash of the same old story of Kennedy and Sinatra. Very little about the organization or its day to day players. To top off the waste of time, the author goes on a twenty page left wing diatribe about how corporations are more evil than gangsters.
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on December 1, 2012
Russo definitely did his homework, but there are a couple of nuisances:

-definitely "goes local", being too sympathetic to the gangsters. I think he wants to be one.
-poorly edited
-seems to give uncommon nicknames to the gangsters and runs with them. People in Chicago know Giancana as "Momo", not "Mooney", and Accardo as Tony Accardo, not "Joe Batters"

It's a decent enough read I suppose, as it does tell the story of the link between the political and criminal powers. But Russo consistently tries to compare corporate swindling to outright murder, and like I said, he seems too much to sympathize with his subjects.

In my mind there are too many books out there to recommend "The Outfit".
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